Part 5: Virus protection
Viruses, Trojans, and other malicious software programs pose a great risk to computers. Several forms of malware are spread by using e-mail messages. However, a computer may also become infected when you search the Internet. This problem may occur if a new security vulnerability emerges in your browser or if you download a program that you believe to be trustworthy, such as a computer game, that it is actually a backdoor program.
Viruses and Trojans can cause major damage. These programs can damage single files or delete a whole hard disk. They can use a computer to attack an Internet server or to send spam. They may also be able to "phish" for passwords and for other private information or cause major problems on a computer.
Virus protection programs are the only effective means of protection against these types of attack. These programs help prevent attacks on a system and remove any existing malware.
How antivirus software works
When you use e-mail programs or search the Internet, you subject a computer to viruses. A virus can infect a computer when you do something as harmless as clicking a file attachment in an e-mail message that is sent from someone on an infected computer. The more that you use a computer for communication, whether this communication uses the Internet, e-mail, or file sharing, the more susceptible a computer is to viruses and to virus-related problems.
Protect your computer and your contacts by using antivirus software. Antivirus software detects, fixes, and prevents viruses from spreading to and from a computer. Antivirus software searches for latent viruses on a computer. This includes viruses that may have spread to a system without your knowledge. The software can also install antivirus fixes on a computer. These fixes help protect a system from future infection and help prevent the system from unintentionally spreading viruses to other computers.
Unfortunately, some computer viruses are not discovered until you try to upgrade or to modify software. Therefore, we recommend that you use antivirus software before you install Microsoft Windows XP.
Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials is a comprehensive and integrated computer care service that helps protect and maintain a computer by using antivirus programs, antispyware programs, firewalls, performance tune-ups, and file backup and restore functionality.
To download Microsoft Security Essentials, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
You can help protect a computer from malicious software by using the Malicious Software Removal Tool. This tool checks Windows XP-based, Microsoft Windows 2000-based, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computers for specific, prevalent malicious software and helps you remove threats after they have infected a computer. When the detection and removal process is completed, the tool displays a report that tells you which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.
Each month Microsoft provides an updated version of this tool that removes malicious software that is found to be prevalent for that month.
To download the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
McAfee offers a free virus scan (VirusScan Online) to all users who upgrade to Windows XP. We highly recommend that you run this virus scan or another virus scan before you install Windows XP.To obtain this software, visit the following McAfee Web site:
Antivirus products for Windows XP users
Dr. Solomon's Virex for the Macintosh
Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus for Workstations
Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus for Server
NetShield for NT
Symantec offers a free tool to repair the SirCam virus. To download this tool, visit the following Symantec Web site:
Symantec offers a free tool that is named Symantec Security Check to test how susceptible a system is to security and virus threats. To download this tool, visit the following Symantec Web site:
Antivirus products for desktop and server
Norton AntiVirus 5.0 for OS/2
Norton AntiVirus 7.0 for Macintosh (Desktop)
Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition 7.5 for NetWare
Norton AntiVirus Plus for Tivoli Enterprise and IT Director
Symantec System Center
Symantec AntiVirus Command Line Scanner 1.0
For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.
How to use antivirus software in the Security Center
If you have installed the latest updates, the Security Center indicates that a virus protection program is active.
You must regularly update virus definitions. If you do not, you will be reminded to update by the Security Center and by antivirus software.
In this case, the Security Center recognizes that a virus protection program is installed, but cannot guarantee its integrity. To prevent these notifications, follow these steps:
- Click Recommendations.
- Click I have an antivirus program that I'll monitor myself, and then click OK.The security status changes immediately. The Security Center will no longer display warning messages about potential risks. You must monitor the correct operation of the virus protection software yourself.
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.